Maine Turnpike Authority

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press

The Maine Turnpike Authority voted Thursday to widen a portion of the highway that runs from Exit 44 in Scarborough to just north of Exit 48 in Portland.

AUGUSTA, Maine - A spokesman is blaming "petty partisan politicians'' for Republican Gov. Paul LePage's decision to halt his nominations for individuals to state boards and commissions.

There's been a steady flow of traffic into Maine ahead of the July 4th Holiday, but nothing that's caused traffic jams or overwhelming problems on Maine's turnpike, according to Maine Turnpike Authorities.

Executive Director Peter Mills says traffic was "huge" last Friday and Saturday, but it didn't beat last year's measurement for the same day of the week. He says it's likely people traveling to the state started early.

PORTLAND, Maine - The Maine Turnpike Authority wants public input on the future of the increasingly busy stretch from Scarborough to Falmouth.

The authority is holding a public advisory committee meeting Wednesday in Portland.  The goal is to complete a report of the growing safety and capacity challenges by June.

MTA spokeswoman Erin Courtney said traffic volumes are at record highs after growing about 3 to 5 percent a year over the last three years.

Independence Day is still four days away, but Maine Turnpike Authority officials expect to see heavier traffic, beginning today.   

"We're expecting, approximately, over 600,000 vehicles to travel the Maine Turnpike Friday and Saturday alone," says spokeswoman Erin Courtney.  "And then, with it [the Fourth of July holiday] falling on a Tuesday, the exodus is to be, probably, more dispersed."

Overall, officials expect traffic to increase more than 1 percent over last year. 

AUGUSTA, Maine - Maine's Republican governor wants to start shutting down the state turnpike authority within the next decade.
 
The House referred Gov. Paul LePage's bill to the transportation committee on Thursday.
 
The Maine Turnpike Authority would have until November 2027 to remove all toll facilities on the turnpike, except the York toll facility.
 
The quasi-governmental authority would also have ten years to transfer all its duties to the transportation department.
 

Despite objections from Gov. Paul LePage, the Legislature has passed a bill that could ease traffic congestion in Portland's western suburbs.

The proposal allows the Maine Turnpike Authority to study and build a five-mile connector to mitigate traffic jams on access roads from Portland to the Gorham-Scarborough area.

PORTLAND, Maine - As anticipated,  the Maine Turnpike was busy over the four-day Labor Day weekend.  

Turnpike spokesperson Rebecca Grover says preliminary numbers show that traffic was up almost 4.5 percent over last year, "and there were approximately 1.2 million transactions between the 4 days from Friday through Monday of Labor Day weekend."

Again this year, turnpike mascots Miles the Moose and Clawdette the Lobster were at the York Toll plaza in southern Maine saying goodbye to tourists and handing out Farmers Almanacs.  

PORTLAND, Maine - Traffic on the Maine Turnpike is busier than ever this summer.

"It's so heavy that we're having to interrupt our contractors who are doing paving and bridge painting," says Turnpike Authority Executive Director Peter Mills.

Mills says since the MTA prioritizes drivers over construction, it's had to send contractors home for the day on more than one occasion.

Summer is always a busy traffic season in Maine, but Mills says this isn't just seasonal traffic - it's also local drivers using the turnpike for short trips.

PORTLAND, Maine - York residents and officials continued today to argue against moving the Maine Turnpike toll plaza. The Turnpike Authority has, for years, looked at alternative sites, saying the current location is poor.

A new study, by Jacobs Engineering, suggests that a site 1.3 miles north of the current location would be safer, and $20 million less expensive, than rebuilding at the current location.

At a meeting of the Turnpike Authority Thursday, York resident Dick Boldin wondered if Jacobs Engineering had done its job.

PORTLAND, Maine - The Maine Turnpike Authority says a problem with its traffic warning software is causing it to issue outdated traffic alerts.

The authority issued a series of warnings early on Tuesday that cited traffic concerns that were from days ago. A turnpike dispatcher says the glitch has been occurring for the past couple of days.

YORK, Maine - The Maine Turnpike Authority's plan to build a high-speed toll plaza in York is back on the table.

Area residents have long opposed the plan, but a proposal presented Thursday to the board of directors would build the new plaza a few hundred feet north of the existing plaza on land the authority already owns.

Residents who have opposed plans to replace the 45-year-old toll plaza say they are hopeful about this latest plan because it appears it would have the least impact on the town.